I-35W highlighted in red
|Maintained by MnDOT|
|Length||41.778 mi (67.235 km)|
|South end||I-35 / I-35E in Burnsville|
|North end||I-35 / I-35E in Columbus|
|Counties||Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka|
Interstate 35W (I-35W) is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Minnesota, passing through downtown Minneapolis. It is one of two through routes for I-35 through the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the other being I-35E through downtown Saint Paul.
Traveling north, I-35 splits at Burnsville, and the I-35W route runs north for 41 miles (66,000 m), carrying its own separate sequence of exit numbers. It runs through the city of Minneapolis before rejoining with I-35E to reform I-35 in Columbus near Forest Lake. I-35W supplanted sections of old U.S. Highway 8 (US 8) northeast of Minneapolis and old US 65 south of Minneapolis that have since been removed from the United States Numbered Highway System.
During the early years of the Interstate Highway System, branching Interstates with directional suffixes such as N, S, E, and W were common nationwide. On every other Interstate nationwide, these directional suffixes have been phased out by redesignating the suffixed route numbers with a loop or spur route number designation. In the case of I-35 in the Twin Cities area, since neither branch is clearly the main route and both branches return to a unified Interstate beyond the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, officials at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) have allowed the suffixes of E and W in Minnesota to remain in the present day. I-35 also splits into I-35E and I-35W in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, for similar reasons as the I-35 split in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area.
The southern terminus of I-35W is at Burnsville, where I-35 splits into I-35E and I-35W. While I-35E takes a northeasterly path into Saint Paul, I-35W heads north into Minneapolis. I-35W maintains a northbound direction in Burnsville with two lanes and adds a third lane at Burnsville Parkway. It then crosses the Minnesota River into Bloomington. At the Bloomington–Richfield city boundary, I-35W has a cloverleaf interchange with I-494. I-35W continues northbound into Richfield, where it turns east and joins with Minnesota State Highway 62 (MN 62) for about 1⁄4 mile (0.40 km) in what is locally known as the Crosstown Commons. I-35W and MN 62 split as two lanes of I-35W turn northbound toward downtown Minneapolis, where it adds back a third lane and then later a fourth and a fifth lane at the 46th Street on ramp.
I-35W swerves slightly northeast immediately south of downtown to avoid the Washburn-Fair Oaks Mansion District. Three lanes then split north onto MN 65 (Old US 65), which exits into downtown. The two right-hand lanes of I-35W curve a sharp right east where it runs side by side with I-94 and US 52 for less than a mile, allowing drivers to exchange highways. Here, the interchange with I-94/US 52 does not have direct access for southbound I-35W to eastbound I-94/southbound US 52 or westbound I-94/northbound US 52 to northbound I-35W. Drivers must use the Cedar and Washington Avenue exits to make these connections.
I-35W completes its eastern loop around downtown, and then crosses the Mississippi River on the St. Anthony Falls Bridge and winds northeast out of Northeast Minneapolis. Here, I-35W passes through industrial areas near the suburbs of St. Anthony, Lauderdale, Roseville, and Arden Hills.
I-35W then meets I-694 in New Brighton and Arden Hills at a cloverleaf interchange. US 10 joins I-35W one mile (1.6 km) north of the I-35W/I-694 interchange. I-35W and US 10 run concurrently for another mile before the latter turns westward at Mounds View and Shoreview. I-35W passes next to the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant and again turns northeastward through the suburbs of Blaine and Lino Lakes. The communities of Lexington and Circle Pines are also nearby throughout this stretch. I-35W then merges with I-35E to re-form I-35 at Columbus near Forest Lake.
I-35W is prone to heavy-rain event flooding in several areas, intersecting both natural habitats including the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge between Burnsville and Bloomington; and the dense urban areas through the city of Minneapolis. In the great 1965 Minnesota River flood, the highway was under water in the flood plain wetlands south of the Minnesota River bridge at Burnsville. Dikes have been constructed and the highway road has been raised since then. The storm sewer system under I-35W in the urban core of south Minneapolis has also been cited as a place prone to flash floods during rain events. Improvements continue to be made to this area as part of future projects.
When the Minnesota River bridge between Burnsville and Bloomington was completed in 1960, it was two lanes in each direction. I-35W at the time only extended as far south as MN 13 in Burnsville. Improvements were made in 1984 to redeck and widen the bridge, but subsoil problems found at the north end resulted in the new lanes being temporarily closed. In 1989, the lanes were opened as high-occupancy vehicle lanes when the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) expanded the north approach to carry the additional traffic.
On August 1, 2007, the I-35W Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River around 6:05 p.m. CDT, killing 13 people and injuring 145. The metal arch bridge had a length of approximately 1,900 feet (580 m) and a roadway height of over 100 feet (30 m) above the river. The bridge connected Minneapolis southwest of the Mississippi River to the Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood and served residents in the northern suburbs of the metro area. Because of the collapse of the bridge, I-35W traffic was temporarily detoured through eastbound I-94 to northbound MN 280 where it meets up with I-35W in Roseville.
The Crosstown Commons is one of the most congested traffic interchanges in Minnesota. While it is sometimes referred to as an intersection, it is a one-mile (1.6 km) merger or concurrency of I-35W and MN 62. The layout is not a typical intersection: there is only a single level of roadbed and it creates a dogleg in I-35W. This shared right-of-way intersection for I-35W and MN 62 has been a topic of political debate for many years. There are only six lanes on the commons and all drivers merging from one highway to the other are required to change at least one lane as they merge and then diverge again. The name comes from the fact that MN 62 is also known locally as the Crosstown Highway.
The project to improve the interchange began in May 2007, after bids were received in April 2007. The new interchange features three through-lanes for I-35W in both directions, ending at 42nd Street, and two separate through-lanes for MN 62 in each direction, eliminating the need to weave across traffic. The cost of correcting the deficiencies in that short stretch of highway was estimated to be $285 million.
In 2004, the City of Minneapolis threatened to withhold municipal consent for the project unless new bus lanes and bus stations were included. Lake Street currently has a bus station at grade with I-35W on both sides. Eventually the project was altered to include the desired additional bus access. The bid was won by the Ames, Lunda, and Schafer consortium for the 2007 cost of $288 million (equivalent to $344 million in 2018). The project included 25 new bridges, 63 lane miles (101 km) of highway, and expanded the total roadway width from six lanes to 12 lanes at Lyndale Avenue. The bridges were cast in Coates and trucked in for on-site erection. The new design includes transit/HOV lanes and was completed in November 2010.
The [email protected] Downtown to Crosstown Project is currently under construction to repave, and reconfigure I-35W and I-94. The work is taking place from 15th Street to 43rd Street on I-35W, and I-94 from Portland Avenue to 3rd Avenue in Minneapolis. The construction is adding a southbound entrance at County Road 3 (Lake Street), adding a northbound exit to 28th Street, and reconstructing and widening frontage roads to accommodate new ramps. HOV lanes using MnPASS are replacing the dynamic shoulder lanes in the center of the freeway. Retaining walls, noise barriers and bridges are being replaced throughout the entirety of the project. The future METRO Orange Line will use a new station at Lake Street, and a bus-only transit ramp on 12th Street connecting I-35W to downtown. The entire project will be completed in fall 2021.
The proposed METRO Orange Line bus rapid transitway will run from the southern suburb of Lakeville to downtown Minneapolis on I-35W, passing through Burnsville, Bloomington, and Richfield.. It will use HOV lanes and a transit ramp into downtown Minneapolis.